The latest in turkey loads: Tungsten Super Shot a hand-loader’s dream and a nightmare for longbeards
Spring gobbler hunters always seem to be tweaking something, whether it’s their various call lineup, to camo patterns and, especially, shotgun loads to deliver the best pattern possible when the moment of truth arrives.
In recent years technology has taken shotgun loads and choke tubes to the next level, and longbeard chasers have literally bought into it and outfitted their shotguns with shotgun shell and choke tube combos that send a swarm of shot downrange toward an unsuspecting gobbler.
It’s gotten to the point where you wonder what will be next.
Well, wonder no more.
There’s a hardcore fraternity of turkey hunters and reloaders who have taken that next step, hand-loading TSS – Tungsten Super Shot – shotgun shells with incredible results. I’ll stop short of talking about the extended range these loads offer because I’m an old-school – maybe just plain old – turkey hunter who feels it’s a 40-yard game, or should be.
But the patterns and power these loads deliver is nothing short or amazing.
There’s a reason. TSS is the heaviest shot available today, weighing about 18 g/cc. Its hardness requires shotgunners to take extra precautions to ensure it doesn’t damage your gun or choke tube. But if loaded properly, there’s no problem.
Hand-loaders and turkey hunters are reporting devastating patterns to 40 yards and, if you insist, well beyond – even from 20 gauges and .410s. Because of its weight, you can use small shot sizes – 9 shot is commonly used – and send a deadly swarm of pellets downrange into that 10-inch circle gobbler getters typically use to gauge their pattern’s effectiveness.
That’s the good news. The bad news it’s expensive; most estimates from hunters who are loading TSS say over $7 a shell. At that price and given the relatively small market target, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see it on any shelves anytime soon.
Too, it could accurately be described as overkill. Let’s be honest: lead shotgun loads will kill turkeys. And with the variety of Hevi-Shot and other specialized turkey loads available, there are plenty of excellent options available on the market today.
But for the guy who wants to kick it up a notch, TSS has a core group of followers.
If it does take off in popularity, it may force states to re-examine what could be antiquated regulations for turkey hunting. For example, in New York state, No. 9 shot is illegal for turkey hunting. That said, a load of TSS 9s is likely as lethal as anything that’s legal for use today.
It’s all part of the advance in technology today, in turkey hunting and virtually everything in society. You don’t have to embrace it all, but it’s available. And some spring gobbler hunters who load their own shells are now dedicated followers of TSS.